Super Mario Odyssey is everyone’s favorite Italian plumber’s next big adventure, finally bringing the series to the Nintendo Switch. The game has only been out a short while, and we’ve been hard at work to find and bring you some of the best Easter eggs, secrets, and references in the new game!
Odyssey tasks players with the job of stopping Bowser’s forced marriage to Princess Peach and has players journey across multiple new and invigorating levels. It’s an amazing game filled with wonderful characters and worlds, as well as the tight platforming that the Mario series has always been known for.
One of my newest favorite additions to the game is the hat-throwing mechanic that we’ve already seen some people master as they work toward breaking speed-run records for the game. Although I’m very biased on my Mario games (Sunshine will forever hold a special place in my heart), I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we’re just beginning to scratch the surface on what’s going to be yet another classic video game that will be discussed and argued over for years to come.
Before you venture any further down this list, be warned: there are some spoilers in the images and list below — nothing that will ruin your narrative experience with the game by any means, but if you’re like me, half the fun of the game is finding your own Easter eggs. As always, stay tuned to The Richest for all your entertainment needs, and share this article with any of your video game peers!
16. New Donk City Street Names
From the first time gamers were shown footage of New Donk City back when the game was revealed, everyone began speculating about just how integral the Kong family would be to this new Mario game. Well, now that the game is out, I can tell you that there are a lot more references than even I was expecting and a few special treats waiting for the dedicated completionist. I loved whizzing around the city on my trusty scooter and seeing references to Tiny Kong and King K. Rool. I often wondered if Nintendo had forgotten about just how diverse and fun the Donkey Kong universe is, and I’m so glad to see that the company hasn’t. There’s a lot of dedication put into this game, and it’s the small things like this that make this Mario outing special and unique. Here’s hoping for a Donkey Kong 64 remaster or at least a new entry into the 3D game series.
15. Dorrie Returns!
Anyone who’s played a Mario game will surely be familiar with Nintendo’s version of what’s essentially the Loch Ness Monster. This aquatic ally has always been around to help Mario get an extra star or if he needed a boost into a new area. Having characters like this in the new game gives me such a feeling of nostalgia from my first interaction with the character all the way back to Super Mario 64. Since then, Dorrie has made numerous appearances in the Mario games, with my favorite being the water course in Super Mario 3D World on the Nintendo Wii U. It’s my sincere hope that Odyssey has a bunch more secrets hidden up its sleeves for fans who are hoping to see the comeback of classic characters in the series like this. What’s your favorite Dorrie memory? Leave a comment down below!
14. Read The Brochures!
In recent years, we’ve seen games make a shift toward more eco-friendly game manual options. It used to be that when you bought a game, you could spend the entire car ride home reading the thick manual, checking out art from the game and things like the character list and control schemes. As time passed, these gradually became smaller and shorter until eventually, the paper manual was more or less done away with entirely. One of my favorite discoveries in Super Mario Odyssey was how the maps for each level are presented as brochures for tourists. There’s the centerpiece of the brochure with the map and level details, but if you look to the side, you can see things like weather and currency information, as well as some hints that might help you along on your journey!
13. Secrets In The Billboards
When I first arrived in New Donk City, I loved the lights and shine of the city (even if it was raining) and knew that I’d be spending a lot of time here looking for Easter eggs and secrets to share with you all! One of the cool nods I found manifested itself in the billboards littered across the city. As you can see, there are references to the “Steam Gardens” as well as to “Mount Volbono” scrapbooked together on this display. At first, I was curious to know where these steam gardens were, but as a matter of fact, I had already visited them in the Wooded Kingdom a few levels back! I haven’t been to Mount Volbono yet, but I’m sure there will be secrets galore there as well. I appreciate this attention to detail in the game, as it shows a level of connectivity without shoving it down the player’s throat. It’s a case where you can see it and say “No way!” without it interrupting your current game.
12. Odyssey Pipe
I’ll admit I embarrassed myself as a gamer when I eventually found this secret. As you play the game, you spend a lot of time onboard or near the Odyssey, your cap-shaped ship. In all that time, I never even thought to explore the exterior of the ship for any possible secrets or bonuses that would aid me on my journey. When I finally did stumble upon this larger-than-average pipe, I had what I imagine was the same feeling as the original person to discover the Peach stained-glass level in Super Mario 64. I was expecting a grand platforming challenge or at least some sort of reward for looking at my ship in a different light. Sadly (although not too sadly), this pipe only brings you inside of your ship through a hole in the ceiling. It isn’t the most useful warp pipe, but it still gets the job done.
11. Portal Paintings
Oh man, this has been my favorite thing to see in Super Mario Odyssey so far. Seeing a painting to another world inside of this game literally catapulted me back to my childhood of jumping in Bob-Omb Battlefield in Super Mario 64. I have a feeling Nintendo and the developers of this game knew that this gameplay mechanic would hit a special chord with gamers, and they were right. In the context of Odyssey, the paintings are used to jump between worlds to areas that would otherwise be inaccessible by normal means. I also loved that whenever you jump into a painting, you get to see what the journey is like, providing context to the gamer for what it’s like from Mario’s perspective to travel through dimensions in a scene that would fit perfectly in any of the new Star Trek films. I can only hope that maybe there’s a painting that leads to Peach’s castle somewhere in this game.
10. Boost Flower
Unlike most Mario games, Odyssey doesn’t rely on a slew of powerups that our Italian plumber gets from question blocks. Instead, a majority of Mario’s powers come from his ability to capture different enemy types and to use their respective abilities to complete tasks and reach areas that standard-form Mario wouldn’t be able to. In the Wooded Kingdom, I stumbled upon some rather odd, bell-shaped flowers. Naturally, the first response to any new element in Super Mario Odyssey is to throw your cap at it and then throw caution to the wind. I was surprised to see the hat pick up not one, not two, but three of the flowers before bringing them back to Mario who then started running at breakneck speeds through the forest. This whole engagement reminded me of the F.L.U.D.D. turbo nozzle from Super Mario Sunshine, which gave my heart a nice fuzzy feeling.
9. Patience Is Rewarded
In a move that I would’ve only expected from the likes of Animal Crossing or Harvest Moon, Super Mario Odyssey has a few elements to it that will require you to complete a task and then leave it to come back at a later time to claim your reward. I am, of course, referring to the seeds that you can find in different levels of the game. With the seeds in hand, you must travel to a planting spot, be it a clay pot like this one or a designated burial spot in the Wooded Kingdom. This section of the game reminded me of how difficult it was in Super Mario Sunshine to get the correct fruit to Yoshi, depending on the Yoshi egg. I hope to see more elements like this further on in the game because it’s a gameplay mechanic that I find to be rather enjoyable.
8. Captain Toad Returns
On the Wii U, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was one of the most innovative and fun puzzle games I’ve seen from Nintendo in the past few years and console generations. Giving the toad race a series of memorable characters in the form of Toadette and Captain Toad was a smart move by Nintendo because it allowed for them to promote themselves in other games by giving these characters small cameos, and Super Mario Odyssey is no different in this regard. Captain Toad can usually be found tucked away in a bizarre section of the map where he waits to greet Mario and give him a moon that he’s collected on his own adventures, similar to how the Toads in previous games would reward Mario with a star! Due to the poor performance of the Wii U, it’s a shame so many people missed out on this gem of a game and character, but I have a feeling a sequel or a remaster of the original is somewhere on the horizon.
7. Climb The Tallest Building In The Game
This list may seem rife with nothing other than New Donk City, but this level is just about as dense with content as the city of New York. After completing the mission that tasks Mario with defeating the monster draining energy from this skyscraper’s spire, gamers are able to freely explore the entire city. Keen-eyed and quick-witted players will be first to notice that Mario is actually able to jump on the small ledges leading up to the pole at the top of the building. Doing so will eventually allow Mario to grab onto the pole and climb it all the way to the top (you can climb faster by shaking the controller in your hands), and then, Mario can balance on top of the building and grab the moon before dismounting or jumping off the building entirely! Be sure to watch where you fall!
Now, the evidence surrounding these following claims is still in its early stages of development, but I want to make the argument that the dog featured in Super Mario Odyssey is actually an original Nintendog from the classic Nintendo DS series of pet simulator games. Why do I say this? Well, mechanically, the dog responds in almost the exact same way as it would in its own games, and I have the facts to back it up. When was the last time you even checked on your Nintendog? And who’s to say this isn’t one of our own original Nintendogs living out its life after we forgot it? The Mario universe never promised to be a constantly cheery one, but I suppose we can take some comfort in the thought that instead of all dogs going to heaven, all Nintendogs go to the Mushroom Kingdom. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
5. Mario’s Idle Animations
One of my favorite things to do in Mario games is seeing how the game world reacts when nothing’s happening. In other words, it means taking a minute to smell the proverbial roses and leave the controller idly by while the digital world carries out its day. In Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, Mario always had a wide variety of responses to his surroundings. In Sunshine, we would see Mario and F.L.U.D.D. interact or even see the Italian plumber stretch out for a refreshing afternoon nap. Odyssey follows a similar suit by having Mario switch between layers of relaxation, from a sitting position to a fully reclined one. Once Mario finally falls asleep, you can hear him dreaming of a wide variety of Italian cuisine, which reminds me why I’ve always loved Charles Martinet‘s voice work on the character.
4. You Actually Can’t Capture Every Human
I think the internet had a collective moment of shellshock when we all first saw the trailer of New Donk City that showed Mario running around next to photorealistic humans. I’ll be the first to admit I had some bad flashbacks to the 2006 reboot of Sonic the Hedgehog, but if I learned anything in 2017, it was that cautious optimism is the best approach to life (looking at you, Knack II and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle). In the trailers, we saw Mario use his cap-capture ability to leap into a human body and made the conscious thought that Mario must be able to capture all of the humans in this Metro Kingdom. Evidently, that’s not the case, but if you explore the city, you might just be able to find a few humans that you can capture to get some extra moons and collectibles to spend at the Crazy Cap!
3. Tributes To Older Games
Super Mario Odyssey pays homage to the series in a multitude of ways, but without a doubt, the graffiti in New Donk City is the absolute tops. Sprinkled all throughout the city are references to the older games in the series. The one above directly references the original Donkey Kong arcade game. The rolling barrels and flaming oil harken back to a simpler time in the gaming world — a time where all that mattered was having a quarter next to the machine to show everyone that you were next. Thankfully, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Odyssey takes a lot of pages from its own storied history but also manages to be a unique entry in the series, earning accolades that are uniquely its own. If this path continues, I’d love to see some sort of DLC that puts Mario in a series of reimagined versions of his games. Going through areas like World 1-1 would be a surreal experience.
2. Hidden Pixel Art
Hidden all throughout the world of Super Mario Odyssey are small pixel art versions of the Mario cast and crew. The one featured above can be found in the Sand Kingdom and is an 8-bit version of Cat Mario, who first debuted in Super Mario 3D World for the Nintendo Wii U. That game also had a very similar feature in the game with hidden 8-bit characters, so it’s nice to see that this collectible has made a triumphant return. In 3D World, the characters were based around Luigi since the release of that game coincided with the Year of Luigi event Nintendo ran that year. In order to get the reward from these items, Mario must throw his cap at the wall where the character will then disappear and leave a collection of coins behind for Mario. Collecting them all will also award you with a nice surprise.
1. License Plate
This Easter egg was one that I found by absolute accident, but I was so glad it happened. While exploring New Donk City by scooter, I got cut off in traffic (and quickly realized that art imitates life in so many more ways than I ever thought possible) and was stuck in a collision with one of the taxis that drive through the city. During this crash, I noticed a specific series of numbers and letters on the license plate of the taxi. Loud and clear in that yellow font, and it was time to start theorizing about 1981-ND — a clear reference to the year that Donkey Kong first debuted in arcades. Considering the heavy number of references to the Kong family in this kingdom specifically, it makes sense that the game is exactly what it’s referencing. ND, on the other hand, can be referring to one of two things. I think the most reasonable explanation is that it stands for “New Donk,” but a second explanation for the lettering — and it’s entirely possible for the acronym to have dual meaning — is that it stands for “Nintendo.” Either way, I hope the game continues to surprise me with the attention to detail.
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